The second series we ever did at Forefront (back when we started in 1998) was “At the Movies.” We’ve done it every year since (we’re in the middle of it right now). You need to as well (if you are someone who preaches…).
Why? Well, first, I think it’s biblical. Yes, I realize they didn’t have movies back then and an “At the Movies” series probably never happened until the 1990’s. But Jesus’ parables were always based on popular, common stories that everyone would start nodding with recognition when they heard. When Paul spoke at Mars Hill he quoted famous poets. I’m convinced that if Jesus or Paul were here today, they would do “At the Movies.”
Second, you know how normally when you prepare a message you’re trying to find stories and illustrations? Well, with a movie series you’ve already got your story/illustration. And it’s one people will recognize and remember.
Third, people love it. It’s the favorite series of most people at our church. People are more likely to invite friends for it. Those are good things!
A few hints: (1) I believe in choosing a movie that on one hand isn’t too much of a stretch, but on the other hand doesn’t completely make the point for you. If you use a movie for a point that the movie doesn’t really make, it seems like you’re trying too hard. But if you use a movie where what you’re going to say about it is completely obvious, well, that’s not fun. People who saw the movie want to be a little surprised in what you saw in it, but once they hear you, think, “Yeah, that’s true!” (2) I believe in choosing movies that have come out in the last year, so they’re not too old. But movies that are already out on DVD, so people can rent them. A lot of our small groups will get together, rent the movie, and watch it as a group the weekend we’re going to talk about it. (3) Use the movie’s trailer as a creative piece in your service. Even a church without a professional-level video editor can pull this off with ease.
Want to hear some examples of movie-based messages? Go to http://www.forefront.org/messages_atthemovies.html
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